Friday, April 26, 2013

Nutrition and Your Dental Health

Taking excellent care of your teeth and gums requires much more than regular brushing and flossing. When you view your set of teeth as your body's food processor, it should become more apparent that the foods you eat play a major role in your dental health. Just like there are certain foods that can wreak havoc on a food-processing appliance, the same holds true for your teeth!

A healthy diet comprised of whole foods as opposed to packaged or processed choices plays a key role, not only in maintaining your dental health, but the health of your entire body. Try to eat a diet that is heavy on fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean meats and fish. Always be on the lookout for snacks and beverages that fit into one of those basic categories. With all processed food there is the almost guaranteed risk of added fat, sugar, sodium, refined flour, and artificial ingredients, such as colors and flavorings. To avoid sabotaging a healthy diet, learn to read and understand food labels and ingredient lists. Just like bad gas can ruin a car's engine, what you eat and drink directly impacts your dental and overall health. Other things to consider when making good choices for your teeth and gums are:
  • What form is the food in? Will it stick to your teeth, stain them or linger between them, causing bacterial growth and possible decay?
  • Sugar and acid are present in many beverages, including milk, fruit juices and soft drinks. Even sugars and acids that occur naturally are linked to tooth decay and should be consumed rarely. Water is always the beverage of choice.
  • If you can't brush after each meal or snack, remember to eat something that can help clean around the teeth, such as an apple, celery, or carrot. Or drink a cup of plain herbal tea because flavonoids and other ingredients in tea seem to prevent harmful bacteria from sticking to teeth, and also block production of a type of sugar that contributes to cavities. Tea also contains high amounts of fluoride.
It is up to you to look after your body! In addition to regular brushing, flossing, and visits to your dentist and family doctor, take charge by:
Visit these sites to learn more about adopting a healthy diet for you and your whole family: and

Contact Dr. Simon Melcher and the staff at Implant & General Dentistry in Raleigh to schedule your next appointment: 919-782-0548.

Friday, April 19, 2013

When Does Thumb Sucking Become Damaging To The Teeth?

Thumb sucking, finger sucking or using a pacifier are ways that very young children comfort themselves. It is completely natural and parents should not be overly concerned. As for damaging the teeth, since most of these activities take place during the pre-school years, when the child has baby teeth, there is really nothing to worry about.

However, vigorous thumb or finger sucking or excessive pacifier use after the child’s permanent teeth come in should be discouraged. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the permanent teeth usually begin coming in between the ages of 4 and 6. This is the time when these activities could cause the front teeth to develop incorrectly, create protrusions and may affect the child’s jaw and roof of their mouth as well. For some reason, many dental professionals and parents confirm that it is easier to break the pacifier habit than stop thumb sucking.

Fortunately, the time that permanent teeth begin appearing is also when many children begin pre-school. Peer pressure and classroom rules often work wonders for helping a child to give up these habits. This is also when children become more mobile and have plenty of other things to keep them busy. Many become so engaged in exploring their world, that the old habits are forgotten.

Of course there are exceptions, and some kids have a very hard time leaving their “binky” behind, or forgetting about their thumb and fingers. The American Dental Association cites 4 years of age as the time to put an end to these behaviors. If your child has begun to get their permanent teeth and thumb sucking is still an issue, discuss it with us. That way, Dr. Melcher can monitor the child’s jaw and teeth to ensure that they are developing properly.

Please consider:
  • Scolding or shaming a child for these behaviors is not effective.
  • Investigate what causes the child to need a self-comforting tactic and try to alleviate that anxiety or avoid those situations.
  • Positive reinforcement and tangible rewards are effective ways to encourage the preferred behavior of not sucking their thumb or fingers or using a pacifier.
If you're concerned about your child's oral habits, call 919-782-0548 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Simon Melcher with Implant & General Dentistry in Raleigh, NC.

Friday, April 12, 2013

What Causes Bad Breath And What Can I Do About It?

Having bad breath is like having a bad hair day - it’s something that will eventually happen to everyone. It’s when friends and family tell you that your breath is persistently bad that it becomes a problem. Although mouth washes, mints, and gums may be seem to be a solution, in reality they are only masking the root of the cause.

Cases of bad breath are brought on by a variety of factors. We can address some of those. However, some of the causes may need the attention of your family doctor or specialists such as an ENT or Gastroenterologist. That’s because sinus drainage, and difficulties with respiration and digestion can also result in offensive breath.

If it is considered to be a case of poor oral hygiene, your dentist and hygienist can assist you with other ways to combat the issue. They can show you proper brushing and flossing techniques. Many patients do not realize they should also gently brush the inside of their cheeks, roof of their mouth, and tongue. Believe it or not, food particles and plaque can build up in these spots as well and result in the growth of foul smelling bacteria. Using a tongue scraper and tying a knot in your dental floss to boost its ability to clean between teeth that may be food trappers are other ways to fight bad breath.

Since having bad breath can greatly affect your confidence and self-esteem, it is an excellent idea to include Dr. Melcher in the battle to banish it!

If you're having persistent bad breath, contact Dr. Simon Melcher of Implant & General Dentistry in Raleigh, NC at 919-782-0548.

Friday, April 5, 2013

How Often Should I Visit My Dentist?

Just as you schedule regular visits to maintain your car, you should also be diligent about regular appointments to your dentist. Routine oral exams and cleanings should occur no farther apart than every six months. Do not think that frequent brushing, flossing, and rinsing on your own is enough. No matter how well you take care of your teeth, it is virtually impossible to remove plaque that builds up even with the most conscientious individuals. The rate at which plaque builds up varies greatly from patient to patient and is unpredictable. That is also why those with gum issues need to see their dentist even more often.

Waiting until there is a problem is never a good idea. When you wait until there is pain or a visible issue, the situation can become much more serious and more difficult to treat. Along with cleaning your teeth, Dr. Melcher and our dental hygienists will evaluate your individual teeth, gums, oral mucosa, cheeks, neck, and tongue. It is very important to discover signs of decay and tooth fractures early, before bone loss and infection can set in.

During your regular six-month appointments, we will perform the “6 Step Screening for Oral Cancer.” This simple procedure could save your life. Do not assume that because you don’t smoke, you are not at risk.

And… look into your schedule to make sure you have set aside a minimum of two dates this year for your regular dental check-ups. Just like your car or home, your teeth must be cared for regularly. Doing just that, will give you plenty of reasons to smile!

Call Implant & General Dentistry in Raleigh, NC at 919-782-0548 to schedule your exam with Dr. Simon Melcher!